Sunday 20 September 2015

The Evolving Pathways to Professionalism

My friend, Rachel Chee, who is attached to the regional ACCA office posted this piece on news on a Facebook group promoting professional accountancy. It is about one of the Big-4 in the UK ditching degrees as the only point for consideration for new recruits. Not a new phenomena, but a re-affirmation of the changing dynamics in the competition for talents.

I would like to quote some excerpts from the report:

"Ernst & Young, one of the UK's biggest graduate recruiters, has announced it will be removing the degree classification from its entry criteria, saying there is "no evidence" success at university correlates with achievement in later life.
The accountancy firm is scrapping its policy of requiring a 2:1 and the equivalent of three B grades at A-level in order to open opportunities for talented individuals "regardless of their background".
Maggie Stilwell, EY’s managing partner for talent, said the company would use online assessments to judge the potential of applicants.
"Academic qualifications will still be taken into account and indeed remain an important consideration when assessing candidates as a whole, but will no longer act as a barrier to getting a foot in the door," she said. 
"Our own internal research of over 400 graduates found that screening students based on academic performance alone was too blunt an approach to recruitment.
"It found no evidence to conclude that previous success in higher education correlated with future success in subsequent professional qualifications undertaken."
This reinforces my view that tertiary education and professional accountancy programmes have two different objectives. The former is supposed to nurture young minds into personalities with the intellectual capabilities to contribute to the society through specific knowledge and skills learned at universities. The latter is meant to upscale the intellectual personalities into having deeper knowledge, understanding and skills in industry-related disciplines which are demanded in the market place.

If these two important sectors in the economy would be able to align themselves properly, the society will win. Unfortunately in Malaysia, due to historical and emotional reasons, there seems to be competitions amongst the institutions which results in huge inefficiency the supply chain of accountants.
Sometimes when more that one parties sit around the table to resolve issues, the focus would be on the details and the big picture is always missing. There could also be situations when the truth is clear but ego and emotions take precedence over public benefits. The irony is many of the parties involved are funded by taxpayers! Why are interests of taxpayers not important in these discussions?

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